Meghan Pearl, MD - Norman Siegel Research Scholar Grant (2018)

By ASN Staff

Name: Meghan Pearl, MD

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles

Grant: Norman Siegel Research Scholar Grant (2018)

Project Title: Understanding the Interface of Allo and Auto-Immunity: the Impact of Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Antibodies in Pediatric Kidney Transplant Recipients
 

How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

  • I am interested in understanding the impact of non-HLA autoantibodies on kidney transplant outcomes and allograft pathology in children.  


Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.

  • I will be investigating the role of angiotensin II type 1 receptor antibodies (AT1R-Ab) in a large cohort of pediatric kidney transplant recipients.  This study will examine the clinical outcomes associated with AT1R-Ab as well thoroughly investigate the pathology associated with AT1R-Ab through the use of immunohistochemical staining and transcriptomics.


What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

  • I had a patient early in my fellowship who lost his allograft in the first 3 weeks post-transplant due to AT1R-Ab mediated allograft injury.  Subsequently, our pilot study revealed that AT1R-Ab is much more prevalent than we expected in children when compared to adult kidney transplant recipients and associated with poor allograft outcomes and vascular inflammation.  These findings led me to design a larger study to investigate this relationship and to thoroughly examine allograft pathology in these patients. 


What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?

  • I hope my work will help us gain a better understanding of the role of AT1R-Ab in clinical outcomes and allograft pathology.  Ultimately, this knowledge will help design future studies to assess the utility of screening and preemptive treatment for non-HLA antibodies.  


What are your short- and long-term career goals?

  • I have recently been promoted to Assistant Professor and been awarded a Master of Science in Clinical Research.  By the end of the grant period, I hope to build on my current statistical skills by gaining a better command of big data analysis.  Further, I hope to have the data and skill set necessary to design a clinical trial investigating the benefit of angiotensin receptor blockade in transplant patients with AT1R-Ab.  I have a passion for kidney transplantation – I am truly inspired by the impact that it has on my patients, children with ESRD.  I hope that in 10 years, I can progress in my role as a physician scientist focused in pediatric kidney transplantation and take on a leadership role within the pediatric transplant community.  I also hope to expand my work in understanding the intersection of auto and allo – immunity to improve our understanding of the breadth of antibody-mediated allograft injury. 


What has surprised you most about your career?

  • I did not start a career in medicine with a plan to focus on research.  I am pleasantly surprised that my career path has lead me to this point!  I hope my role as a physician scientist will allow me to make meaningful contributions to the lives of my patients. 


Describe the importance of having grant funding available through the ASN Foundation.

  • The ASN Career Development Award is absolutely critical for me to support my completion of this work and the progression of my career as a physician-scientist – my gratitude for the opportunity cannot be overstated.


Something you may not know about me is…

  • I was a competitive sailor in college. 


In my free time I like to…

  • Spend time with my wonderful husband and adorable dog.  I love taking advantage of all the lovely outdoor activities that Southern California offers.
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Name: Meghan Pearl, MD

Institution: University of California, Los Angeles

Grant: Norman Siegel Research Scholar Grant (2018)

Project Title: Understanding the Interface of Allo and Auto-Immunity: the Impact of Angiotensin II Type 1 Receptor Antibodies in Pediatric Kidney Transplant Recipients
 

How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

  • I am interested in understanding the impact of non-HLA autoantibodies on kidney transplant outcomes and allograft pathology in children.  


Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.

  • I will be investigating the role of angiotensin II type 1 receptor antibodies (AT1R-Ab) in a large cohort of pediatric kidney transplant recipients.  This study will examine the clinical outcomes associated with AT1R-Ab as well thoroughly investigate the pathology associated with AT1R-Ab through the use of immunohistochemical staining and transcriptomics.


What inspired you to focus your research in this area?

  • I had a patient early in my fellowship who lost his allograft in the first 3 weeks post-transplant due to AT1R-Ab mediated allograft injury.  Subsequently, our pilot study revealed that AT1R-Ab is much more prevalent than we expected in children when compared to adult kidney transplant recipients and associated with poor allograft outcomes and vascular inflammation.  These findings led me to design a larger study to investigate this relationship and to thoroughly examine allograft pathology in these patients. 


What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?

  • I hope my work will help us gain a better understanding of the role of AT1R-Ab in clinical outcomes and allograft pathology.  Ultimately, this knowledge will help design future studies to assess the utility of screening and preemptive treatment for non-HLA antibodies.  


What are your short- and long-term career goals?

  • I have recently been promoted to Assistant Professor and been awarded a Master of Science in Clinical Research.  By the end of the grant period, I hope to build on my current statistical skills by gaining a better command of big data analysis.  Further, I hope to have the data and skill set necessary to design a clinical trial investigating the benefit of angiotensin receptor blockade in transplant patients with AT1R-Ab.  I have a passion for kidney transplantation – I am truly inspired by the impact that it has on my patients, children with ESRD.  I hope that in 10 years, I can progress in my role as a physician scientist focused in pediatric kidney transplantation and take on a leadership role within the pediatric transplant community.  I also hope to expand my work in understanding the intersection of auto and allo – immunity to improve our understanding of the breadth of antibody-mediated allograft injury. 


What has surprised you most about your career?

  • I did not start a career in medicine with a plan to focus on research.  I am pleasantly surprised that my career path has lead me to this point!  I hope my role as a physician scientist will allow me to make meaningful contributions to the lives of my patients. 


Describe the importance of having grant funding available through the ASN Foundation.

  • The ASN Career Development Award is absolutely critical for me to support my completion of this work and the progression of my career as a physician-scientist – my gratitude for the opportunity cannot be overstated.


Something you may not know about me is…

  • I was a competitive sailor in college. 


In my free time I like to…

  • Spend time with my wonderful husband and adorable dog.  I love taking advantage of all the lovely outdoor activities that Southern California offers.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018